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Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success Expansion Cultural Trip Alvin Ailey


The Mission of The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success is to instill pride in and understanding of African American culture as a tool to encourage academic achievement and positive behaviors, toward post-secondary matriculation and productive citizenship.

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors

Invest In Yourself

For nearly 30 years African American students have participated in The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success summer program, which teaches the core curriculum from a cultural perspective. The Academy encourages students to take responsibility for their academic progress, uses cultural information to teach them why it is important, and shows them how to do it.

The Academy Expansion offers weekly lessons in the culture to African American third, fourth, and fifth graders, teaching the self confidence, self regard and classroom skills necessary to establish academic success.

Parental Support

Parent involvement in Academy programming is crucial–both because parents may need to “put their foot down” in order to encourage students to attend an academic program during the summer, and because parents as volunteers and supporters are necessary.

The Academy requires parent involvement from the Orientation through the Closing Ceremony. If a parent is unwilling/unavailable, a responsible adult may support the student. Parents are oriented along with students regarding the structure and expectations of the programs. They must engage in a one-on-one conference on their student’s progress, are expected to attend the Closing Ceremony, and are encouraged to visit classes and even travel with The Academy on our post-session trips.

Parent volunteers are also expected to support the program by attending meetings and helping with student fundraisers. Once a student is an “Academy Kid”, the family becomes part of our “Family”.

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been

“I feel blessed to have found the Academy; it has given me a different outlook on my race and culture. The Academy is going to help me prepare for a future as a successful African American Woman.

It’s a great program and I’m looking forward to attending the next two years.”

Sierra Whiting
The Academy SPS Student

“To have been in The Academy at the very beginning of the process and to see what it has truly blossomed into really blesses my heart.

I am glad that it inspired me to see the beauty of our history, of our culture, and of myself.”

Karl Cassell

“The Academy has helped my children learn about their heritage. It also helped them be confident about who they are as African Americans in this world.

They were able to learn that they are important. It brought their confidence up, and I believe it helped them become leaders.”

Tonia Servin
The Academy SPS Parent

The Academy SPS reinforced our families’ teachings of attainable goals. Being taught be African American scholars and professors gave my son touchable goals.

I feel it’s a parent’s obligation to instill the desire for achievement in every area of their children’s lives. When The Academy SPS becomes a part of the process, success is attainable, touchable, and expected. Thank you!

Flora Williams
The Academy SPS Parent & Board Member

“The trip to Atlanta gave me the opportunity to learn things I never knew about African American culture.

The Academy also taught me about myself and helped me prepare for college.”

Jason Edwards

“The Academy gives you what you don’t learn in school, because you get to focus on African American culture and still learn subjects like math and science.”

Alicia Ramsden
The Academy SPS Student

“Though it’s difficult to compare different opportunities, I think the Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success had the most influence on me.

The program has helped me become a better leader and has opened my eyes to my heritage and culture.”

Glorie Borsay
The Academy SPS Student

“The Academy helped me know and experience the world outside of Cedar Rapids.

It helped me recognize and appreciate the power I had within myself.”

Felicia Seely Williams
The Academy SPS Student

“The Academy SPS presents itself as an enrichment program geared toward mitigating the widening education gap but I can attest that it is much, much more than that.

As a student, I was able to learn more about myself in those six weeks than I had learn in the past 18 years of my life.  It truly is a transformational experience.”

Afnan Elsheikh
The Academy SPS Student